A death squad is an armed group that conducts extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances of persons for the purposes such as political repression, assassinations, torture, genocide, ethnic cleansing, or revolutionary terror. These killings are often conducted in ways meant to ensure the secrecy of the killers' identities. Death squads may have the support of domestic or foreign governments (see state terrorism). They may comprise a secret police force, paramilitary militia groups, government soldiers, policemen, or combinations thereof. They may also be organized as vigilantes. When death squads are not controlled by the state, they may consist of insurgent forces or organized crime, such as the ones used by cartels.
Although the term "death squad" did not rise to notoriety until the activities of such groups became widely known in Central and South America during the 1970s and 80s, death squads have been employed under different guises throughout history. The term was first used by the fascist Iron Guard in Romania. It officially installed Iron guard death squads in 1936 in order to kill political enemies. It was also used during the Battle of Algiers by Paul Aussaresses.
In Latin America, death squads first appeared in Brazil where a group called Esquadrão da Morte (literally "Death Squad") emerged in the 1960s; they subsequently spread to Argentina and Chile in the 1970s, and they were later used in Central America during the 1980s. Argentina used extrajudicial killings as a way of crushing the liberal and communist opposition to the military junta during the 'Dirty War' of the 1970s. For example, Alianza Anticomunista Argentina was a far-right death squad mainly active during the "Dirty War". The Chilean military regime of 1973–1990 also committed such killings. See Operation Condor for examples.
During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads achieved notoriety on March 24, 1980, when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero as he said Mass inside a convent chapel. In December 1980, three American nuns, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Maura Clarke, and a lay worker, Jean Donovan, were gang raped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing hundreds of real and suspected Communists. Priests who were spreading liberation theology, such as Father Rutilio Grande, were often targeted as well. The murderers were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military, which was receiving U.S. funding and military advisors during the Carter administration. These events prompted outrage in the U.S. and led to a temporary cutoff in military aid at the end of his presidency. Death Squad activity stretched well into the Reagan years (1981–1989) as well.
Honduras also had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of which was the army unit Battalion 316. Hundreds of people, teachers, politicians, and union leaders were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
In Southeast Asia, extrajudicial killings were conducted by both sides during the Vietnam War. For example, Viet Cong member Nguyễn Văn Lém, famous for being extrajudicially executed on camera by General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan on 1 February 1968 in Saigon, was himself later claimed to have commanded a death squad targeting South Vietnamese policemen and their families during the Tet Offensive in Saigon.
As of 2010, death squads have continued to be active in several locations, including Chechnya, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Colombia, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines among others.
In an interview with the Pan-African magazine "Jeune Afrique", Laurent Gbagbo accused one of the opposition leaders, Alassane Ouattara (ADO), to be the main organizer of the media frenzy around his wife's involvement in the killing squads. He also successfully sued and won, in French courts, in cases against the French newspapers that made the accusations.
In December 2014, Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit officers confessed to Al-Jazeera that they were responsible for almost 500 of the extrajudicial killings. The murders reportedly totaled several hundred homicides every year. They included the assassination of Abubaker Shariff Ahmed "Makaburi", an Al-Shabaab associate from Kenya, who was among 21 Muslim radicals allegedly murdered by the Kenyan police since 2012. According to the agents, they resorted to killing after the Kenyan police could not successfully prosecute terror suspects. In doing so, the officers indicated that they were acting on the direct orders of Kenya's National Security Council, which consisted of the Kenyan President, Deputy President, Chief of the Defence Forces, Inspector General of Police, National Security Intelligence Service Director, Cabinet Secretary of Interior, and Principal Secretary of Interior. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Security Council of Kenya members denied operating an extrajudicial assassination program. Additionally, the officers suggested that Western security agencies provided intelligence for the program, including the whereabouts and activities of government targets. They asserted that Britain supplied further logistics in the form of equipment and training. One Kenyan officer within the Council's General Service Unit also indicated that Israeli instructors taught them how to kill. The head of the International Bar Association, Mark Ellis, cautioned that any such involvement by foreign nations would constitute a breach of international law. The United Kingdom and Israel denied participation in the Kenyan National Security Council's reported death squads, with the UK Foreign Office indicating that it had approached the Kenyan authorities over the charges.
Beginning in the 1960s, the African National Congress (ANC) and its ally, the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), began a campaign to topple South Africa's National Party (NP)-controlled apartheid Government. Both the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and South African security forces routinely engaged in bombings and targeted killings, both at home and abroad. Particularly notorious apartheid death squads were the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) and the South African Police's counter-insurgency unit C10, commanded by Colonel Eugene de Kock and based at the Vlakplaas farm west of Pretoria, itself also a center for torture of prisoners.
After the end of Apartheid, death squad violence conducted by both the National Party and the ANC was investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
From 1971 to 1979, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin set up death squads to murder enemies of the state.
After the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo there was a paramilitary force known la Patrulla 42, or just la 42, that used state terrorism to deploy fear in the population. During the 12-year regime of Joaquín Balaguer, the Frente Democrático Anticomunista y Antiterrorista, most known as la Banda Colorá, continued the practices of la 42.
In a way similar to the American Indian Wars, the early Mexican nation struggled against Apache raids. Between 1835 and 1837, only 15 years after the Mexican independence and at the midst of the Texan Revolution, the local governments of the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua (that border with the U.S. states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona ) put a bounty on the Apache bands that scourged the area. In the case of Chihuahua the bounty attracted "bounty hunters" from the United States, that were often Anglo Americans, runaway slaves and even from other indian tribes, it was paid based on Apache scalps, 100 pesos per warrior, 50 pesos per woman, and 25 pesos per child. As historian Donald E. Worcester wrote: "The new policy attracted a diverse group of men, including Anglos, runaway slaves led by Seminole John Horse, and Indians — Kirker used Delawares and Shawnees; others, such as Terrazas, used Tarahumaras; and Seminole Chief Coacoochee led a band of his own people who had fled from Indian Territory."
For more than seven decades following the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican State was a one-party state ruled by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). During this era, death squad tactics were routinely used against suspected enemies of the state.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the PRI's founder, President Plutarco Elías Calles, used death squads against Mexico's Roman Catholic majority. Calles explained his reasons in a private telegram to the Mexican Ambassador to the French Third Republic, Alberto José Pani Arteaga. "...Catholic Church in Mexico is a political movement, and must be eliminated ... free of religious hypnotism which fools the people... within one year without the sacraments, the people will forget the faith..."
Calles and his adherents used the Mexican Army and police, as well as paramilitary forces like the Red Shirts, to abduct, torture, and execute priests, nuns, and actively religious laity. Mexican Catholics were also routinely hanged from telegraph poles along the railroad lines. Prominent victims of the Mexican State's campaign against Catholicism include the teenager Jose Sanchez del Rio, the Jesuit priest Father Miguel Pro, and the Christian Pacifist Anacleto González Flores. (see also Saints of the Cristero War).
In response, an armed revolt against the Mexican State, the Cristero War, began in 1927. Composed largely of peasant volunteers and commanded by retired General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, the Cristeros were also responsible for atrocities. Among them were the assassination of former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón, train robberies, and violent attacks against rural teachers. The uprising largely ended after the Holy See and the Mexican State negotiated a compromise agreement. Refusing to lay down his arms despite offers of amnesty, General Gorostieta was killed in action by the Mexican Army in Jalisco on 2 June 1929. Following the cessation of hostilities, more than 5,000 Cristeros were summarily executed by Mexican security forces. The events of the Cristero War are depicted in the 2012 film For Greater Glory.
During the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, death squads continued to be used against anti-PRI activists, both Marxists and social conservatives. One example of this is the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, in which an anti-regime protest rally was attacked by security forces in Mexico City. After this event, paramilitary groups like "Los Halcones" (The hawks) and the "Brigada blanca" (White brigade) were used to attack, hunt and exterminate political dissidents.
Allegations have been made by both journalists and American law enforcement of collusion between senior PRI statesmen and the Mexican drug cartels. It has even been alleged that, under PRI rule, no drug traffickers were ever successful without the permission of the Mexican State. If the same drug trafficker fell from favor, however, Mexican law enforcement would be ordered to move against their operation, as happened to Pablo Acosta Villarreal in 1987.
By the early 1990s, the PRI started to lose the grip on its absolute political power, however, its corruption became so pervasive that Juarez Cartel boss Amado Carrillo Fuentes was even able to purchase a window in Mexico's air defense system. During this period, his airplanes were permitted to smuggle narcotics into the United States without the interference of the Mexican Air Force. As a result, Carillo Fuentes became known as "The Lord of the Skies."
It is believed by American and Mexican investigators that the PRI would also use the cartels to commit assassinations which were too sensitive to be traced back to the ruling party. One murder believed to be an example of this is the 1993 murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo.
In 2000, however, during an internal power struggle between former President Salinas and President Zedillo, the PRI was peacefully voted out from power, until 2013 when they partially regained their influence and power, only to lose again in 2018. It is also alleged that, during the time they first lost the presidency, some of the most powerful PRI members were supporting and protecting drug cartels that they used as death squads against their criminal and political rivals, being this one of the real reasons the PAN party government accepted to start the Mexican drug war against the Cartels. However, it is also alleged that during this period of time the turmoil of war has been used by the parties in power to exterminate even more political dissidents, activists and their own rivals. An example of this is the case of the 2014 forced disappearance and assassination of 43 activist rural students from the Ayotzinapa Teachers' College, in the hands of police officers colluded with the "Guerreros Unidos" drug cartel.
During the California Gold Rush, the state government between 1850 and 1859 financed and organized militia units to hunt down and kill Native Americans in the state. Between 1850 and 1852 the state appropriated almost one million dollars for the activities of these militias, and between 1854 and 1859 the state appropriated another $500,000, almost half of which was reimbursed by the federal government. These death squads were part of the reduction of the indigenous population of California from 150,000 in 1848 to just 15,000 in 1900. Some scholars contend that the state financing of these militias, as well as the US government's role in other massacres in California, such as the Bloody Island and Yontoket Massacres, in which up to 400 or more natives were killed in each massacre, constitutes acts of genocide against the native people of California.
Beginning in the 1850s, pro-slavery Bushwhackers and anti-slavery Jayhawkers waged war against each other in the Kansas Territory. Due to the horrific atrocities committed by both sides against civilians, the territory was dubbed "Bleeding Kansas". After the American Civil War began, the fraternal bloodshed increased.
The most infamous atrocity in Kansas during the American Civil War is the Lawrence Massacre. A large force group of Bushwhackers led by William Clarke Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson attacked and burned down the pro-Union town of Lawrence, Kansas in retaliation for the Jayhawkers' earlier destruction of Osceola, Missouri. The Bushwhackers shot down nearly 150 unarmed men and boys.
During Reconstruction, embittered Confederate veterans supported the Ku Klux Klan and similar vigilante organizations throughout the American South. The Klan and its counterparts threatened and even lynched African-Americans, northern carpetbaggers, and Southern "scalawags". This was often with the unofficial support of the Democratic Party leadership. Historian Bruce B. Campbell has called the KKK, "one of the first proto-death squads". Campbell alleges that the difference between it and modern death-squads is that the Ku Klux Klan was composed of members of a defeated regime rather than the ruling government. "Otherwise, in its murderous intent, links to private elite interests, and covert nature, it very closely resembles modern death squads."
Ultimately, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant declared a state of emergency in the American South and gave the United States Army power to break up the Klan. Some Klansmen were tried before military tribunals and hanged.
In 1915, D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation romanticized the KKK and led directly to its re-emergence at a conference at Stone Mountain, Georgia. The Klan soon had klaverns not only in the South, but also in the Midwestern states of Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois.
Unlike its counterpart, the re-constituted KKK opposed not only non-whites, but also Jews and Roman Catholics. Among its most famous victims are Father James Coyle, Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner (see also 16th Street Baptist Church bombing).
During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads (known in Spanish by the name of Escuadrón de la Muerte, "Squadron of Death") achieved notoriety when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero while he was saying Mass in March 1980. In December 1980, three American nuns and a lay worker were gangraped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing thousands of peasants and activists. Funding for the squads came primarily from right-wing Salvadoran businessmen and landowners. Because the death squads involved were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military security forces, which were receiving U.S. arms, funding, training and advice during the Carter, Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, these events prompted some outrage in the U.S. Human rights activists criticized U.S. administrations for denying Salvadoran government links to the death squads. Veteran Human Rights Watch researcher Cynthia J. Arnson writes that "particularly during the years 1980–1983 when the killing was at its height (numbers of killings could reach as far as 35,000), assigning responsibility for the violence and human rights abuses was a product of the intense ideological polarization in the United States. The Reagan administration downplayed the scale of abuse as well as the involvement of state actors. Because of the level of denial, as well as the extent of U.S. involvement with the Salvadoran military and security forces, the U.S. role in El Salvador- what was known about death squads, when it was known, and what actions the United States did or did not take to curb their abuses- became an important part of El Salvador's death squad story.". Some death squads, such as Sombra Negra, are still operating in El Salvador.
The Salvadoran Army's U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion was responsible for the El Mozote massacre where more than 800 civilians were murdered, over half of them children, the El Calabozo massacre, and the murders of six Jesuits in 1989.
Honduras had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of which was Battalion 3–16. Hundreds of people, teachers, politicians, and union bosses were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial support and training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. At least 19 members were School of the Americas graduates. Seven members, including Billy Joya, later played important roles in the administration of President Manuel Zelaya as of mid-2006. Following the 2009 coup d'état, former Battalion 3–16 member Nelson Willy Mejía Mejía became Director-General of Immigration and Billy Joya was de facto President Roberto Micheletti's security advisor. Another former Battalion 3–16 member, Napoleón Nassar Herrera, was high Commissioner of Police for the north-west region under Zelaya and under Micheletti, and also became a Secretary of Security spokesperson "for dialogue" under Micheletti. Zelaya claimed that Joya had reactivated the death squad, with dozens of government opponents having been murdered since the ascent of the Michiletti and Lobo governments.
Throughout the Guatemalan Civil War, both military and "civilian" governments utilized death squads as a counterinsurgency strategy. The use of "death squads" as a government tactic became particularly widespread after 1966. Throughout 1966 and the first three months of 1967, within the framework of what military commentators referred to as "el-contra terror", government forces killed an estimated 8,000 civilians accused of "subversive" activity. This marked a turning point in the history of the Guatemalan security apparatus, and brought about a new era in which mass murder of both real and suspected subversives by government "death squads" became a common occurrence in the country. A noted Guatemalan sociologist estimated the number of government killings between 1966 and 1974 at approximately 5,250 a year (for a total death toll of approximately 42,000 during the presidencies of Julio César Méndez Montenegro and Carlos Arana Osorio). Killings by both official and unofficial security forces would climax in the late 1970s and early 1980s under the presidencies of Fernando Romeo Lucas García and Efraín Ríos Montt, with over 18,000 documented killings in 1982 alone.
Greg Grandin claims that "Washington, of course, publicly denied its support for paramilitarism, but the practice of political disappearances took a great leap forward in Guatemala in 1966 with the birth of a death squad created, and directly supervised, by U.S. security advisors." An upsurge in rebel activity in Guatemala convinced the US to provide increased counterinsurgency assistance to Guatemala's security apparatus in the mid to late 1960s. Documents released in 1999 details how United States military and police advisers had encouraged and assisted Guatemalan military officials in the use of repressive techniques, including helping establish a "safe house" from within the presidential palace as a location to coordinate counter insurgency activities. In 1981, it was reported by Amnesty International that this same "safe house" was in use by Guatemalan security officials to coordinate counterinsurgency activities involving the use of the "death squads."
According to a victim's brother, Mirtala Linares "He wouldn't tell us anything; he claimed they hadn't captured [Sergio], that he knew nothing of his whereabouts – and that maybe my brother had gone as an illegal alien to the United States! That was how he answered us."
Throughout the Ortega regime, starting in 2006, but escalating with the 2018 Nicaraguan protests, the dictatorship has employed death squads also known as "Turbas" or para military groups armed and aided by the National Police to kill over 300 unarmed protesters including infants, and people burned alive, as well as "disappear" hundreds more to unknown locations and fate. These actions have been roundly condemned by the international community, the Organization of American States, Human Rights Watch, and the local and international Catholic Church.
Amnesty International reports that "the security forces in Argentina first started using "death squads" in late 1973. One example was Alianza Anticomunista Argentina, a far-right death squad mainly active during the "Dirty War". By the time military rule ended in 1983 some 1,500 people had been killed directly by "death squads", and over 9,000 named people and many more undocumented victims had been "disappeared"—kidnapped and murdered secretly—according to the officially appointed National Commission on Disappeared People (CONADEP).
The Esquadrão da Morte ("Death Squad" in Portuguese) was a paramilitary organization that emerged in the late 1960s in the context of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship. It was the first group to have received the name "Death Squad" in Latin America, but its actions resembled traditional vigilantism as most executions were not exclusively political-related. The greater share of the political executions during the 21 years of Military Dictatorship (1964–1985) were done by the Brazilian Armed Forces itself. The purpose of the original "Death Squad" was, with the consent of the military government, to persecute, torture and kill suspected criminals (marginais) regarded as dangerous to society. It began in the former State of Guanabara led by Detective Mariel Mariscot, one of the "Twelve Golden Men of Rio de Janeiro's Police", and from there it spread throughout Brazil in the 1970s. In general, its members were politicians, members of the judiciary, and police officials. As a rule, these groups were financed by members of the business community.
In the 1970s and 1980s, several other organizations were modeled after the 1960s Esquadrão da Morte. The most famous such organization is Scuderie Detetive Le Cocq (English: Shield of Detective Le Cocq), named after deceased Detective Milton Le Cocq. The group was particularly active in the Brazilian Southeastern States of Guanabara and Rio de Janeiro, and remains active in the state of Espírito Santo. In the State of São Paulo, Death Squads and individual gunmen called "justiceiros" were pervasive and executions almost were exclusively the work of off-duty policemen. In 1983, a police officer nicknamed "Cabo Bruno" was convicted for murdering more than 50 victims.
The "Death Squads" active under the rule of the military dictatorship continue as a cultural legacy of the Brazilian police. In the 2000s, police officers remain linked with death-squad-type executions. In 2003, roughly 2,000 extrajudicial murders occurred in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with Amnesty International claiming the numbers are likely far higher. Brazilian politician Flávio Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, was accused of having ties to death squads.
One of the most notorious murder gangs operated by the Chilean Army was the Caravan of Death, whose members travelled by helicopter throughout Chile between 30 September and 22 October 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75 individuals held in Army custody in these garrisons. According to the NGO Memoria y Justicia, the squad killed 26 in the South and 71 in the North, making a total of 97 victims. Augusto Pinochet was indicted in December 2002 in this case, but he died four years later without having been convicted. The trial, however, is on-going as of September 2007, other militaries and a former military chaplain having been indicted in this case. On 28 November 2006, Víctor Montiglio, charged of this case, ordered Pinochet's house arrest According to the Chilean Government's own Truth and Reconciliation (Rettig) report, 2,279 people were killed in the operations of Pinochet's regime. In June 1999, judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ordered the arrest of five retired generals.
The United States supported death squads in Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala during the 1980s. In 1993, Amnesty International reported that clandestine military units began covertly operating as death squads in 1978. According to the report, throughout the 1980s political killings rose to a peak of 3,500 in 1988, averaging some 1,500 victims per year since then, and "over 1,500 civilians are also believed to have "disappeared" since 1978." The AUC, formed in 1997, was the most prominent paramilitary group.
According to a 2014 report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Buenaventura, a port town in Colombia, "entire neighborhoods were dominated by powerful paramilitary successor groups" HRW reports that the groups "restrict residents' movements, recruit their children, extort businesses, and routinely engage in horrific acts of violence against anyone who defies their will." It is reported that scores of people have been "disappeared" from the town over the years. Bodies are dismembered before they are disposed of and residents have reported the existence of casas de pique, "chop-up houses" where people are slaughtered. Many residents have fled and are considered to have been "forcibly displaced": 22,028 residents fled in 2011, 15,191 in 2012, and 13,468 between January and October 2013.
In Colombia, the terms "death squads", "paramilitaries" or "self-defense groups" have been used interchangeably and otherwise, referring to either a single phenomenon, also known as paramilitarism, or to different but related aspects of the same. There are reports that Los Pepes, the death squad led by brothers Fidel and Carlos Castaño, had ties to some members of the Colombian National Police, especially the Search Bloc (Bloque de Búsqueda) unit.
A report from the country's public prosecutors office at the end of 2009 reported the number of 28,000 disappeared by paramilitary and guerrilla groups. As of 2008 only 300 corpses were identified and 600 in 2009. According to the prosecutor's office, it will take many more years before all the bodies recovered can be identified.
At least 40% of the national legislature are said to have ties to paramilitary groups. In August 2018, prosecutors in Colombia charged 13 Chiquita brands with supporting the right wing death squad that killed hundreds in the Urabá Antioquia region between 1996 and 2004. Salvatore Mancuso, a jailed paramilitary leader, has accused Del Monte, Dole and Chiquita of funding right wing death squads. Chiquita was fined $25 million after admitting they had paid $1.7 million to paramilitaries over six years; the reason for the payments remains a matter of dispute, with Chiquita claiming the money was routine extortion money paid to paramilitary groups to protect workers. Activists, on the other hand, insist that a portion of the money paid by Chiquita was used to finance political assassinations.
In its 2003 and 2002 world reports, Human Rights Watch reported the existence of death squads in several Venezuelan states, involving members of the local police, the DISIP and the National Guard. These groups were responsible for the extrajudicial killings of civilians and wanted or alleged criminals, including street criminals, looters and drug users. By 2016 and 2017 the members of the OLP (Operación de Liberación del Pueblo) under Nicolas Maduro have been responsible for the disappearance and murder of dozens of civilians
In contemporary times, the Bangladeshi "Rapid Action Battalion" has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings. In addition, there have been many reports of torture in connection with the battalion's activities. Several battalion members have been accused of murder and obstruction of justice during the Narayanganj Seven murder. They've been known to kill civilian suspects for the explicit purpose of avoiding trials. They have also been accused of carrying out a campaign of forced disappearances.
The Khmer Rouge began employing death squads to purge Cambodia of non-communists after taking over the country in 1975. They rounded up their victims, questioned them and then took them out to killing fields.
Prior to the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistani occupation, the Pakistan Army carried out massive campaigns of mass murder and genocide on the native Bengali population in East Pakistan, especially against Hindu minorities. A significant part of the genocide carried out by Pakistan involved the murder of intellectuals in the country, which were carried out by an Islamist paramilitary death squad named Al-Badr.
The secret killings of Assam (1998–2001) was probably the darkest chapter in Assam's political history when relatives, friends, sympathisers of ULFA insurgents were systematically killed by unknown assailants. These extrajudicial murders happened in Assam between 1998 and 2001. These extrajudicial killings were conducted by the state government using SULFA members and the security forces in the name of counter-insurgency operations. The victims of these killings were relatives, friends and colleagues of ULFA militants. The most apparent justification for the whole exercise was that it was a tit-for-tat response to the ULFA-sponsored terrorism, specially the killings of their old comrades—the SULFAs.
In 1965–1966, hundreds of thousands of leftists and those believed tied to the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) were massacred by the Indonesian military and right-wing paramilitary death squads after a failed coup attempt which was blamed on the Communists. At least 400,000 to 500,000 people, perhaps as many as 3 million, were killed over a period of several months, with thousands more being interred in prisons and concentration camps under extremely inhumane conditions. The violence culminated in the fall of President Sukarno and the commencement of Suharto's thirty-year authoritarian reign.
After winning the Presidency in June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte had urged, "If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful." By March 2017, the death toll for the Philippine Drug War passed 8,000 people.
News reports on the use of death squads in Korea originated around the middle of the 20th century such as the Jeju Massacre and Daejeon. There were also the multiple deaths that made the news in 1980 in Gwangju.
During the Cold War, in the short period of democracy in Thailand (1973–1976), three right-wing paramilitary groups, Nawaphon, Red Gaurs, and Village Scouts were founded and supported by Internal Security Operations Command and Border Patrol Police to promote national unity, loyalty to Thai royal family, and anti-communism. They were also heavily funded and backed by the United States government, and were under the patronage of the royal family themselves. Among their ranks were former soldiers, veterans of the Vietnam War, former mercenaries in Laos, and violent vocational students.
These groups were first employed to counter protests of the pro-democracy and left-wing students movement, attacking them with firearms and grenades. When the ideological conflict escalated, they started assassinating labor and peasants union officials and progressive politicians, the most famous was Dr. Boonsanong Punyodyana, the general secretary of the Socialist Party of Thailand. The conflict reached its peak with the Thammasat University massacre in 1976, which the Royal Thai Armed Forces and Royal Thai Police, supported by the three aforementioned paramilitary groups, stormed the university and shot mostly unarmed student protesters indiscriminately, resulting in at least 46 deaths. A military coup was staged later in the same day. During the military rule, the paramilitary groups' popularity diminished.
In contemporary Thailand, many extrajudicial killings occurred during the 2003 anti-drug effort of Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra were attributed to government-sponsored death squads. Rumors still persist that there is collusion between the government, rogue military officers and radical right wing/anti-drugs death squads,         with both Muslim and Buddhist sectarian death squads still operating in the South of the country.
During the World War II, paramilitary unit Croatian Ustashe committed a large scale killings of Serbs and in a smaller numbers other ethnic groups that were seen as danger to Croatia. Killings were brutal and systematically organized. Estimates range between 300 000 and 800 000 killed Serbs during that period. Almost entire populations of Jews and Roma people were destroyed by Croat Ustashe units throughout the territory of the state called Independent State of Croatia.
Death squads first appeared in Germany following the end of the First World War and the overthrow of the House of Hohenzollern. In order to prevent a coup d'etat by Soviet-backed German Communists, the SPD-dominated government of the Weimar Republic declared a state of emergency and ordered the recruitment of war veterans into militias called the Freikorps. Although officially answering to Defense Minister Gustav Noske, the Freikorps tended to be drunken, trigger happy, and loyal only to their own commanders. However, they were instrumental in the defeat of the 1919 Spartacist Uprising and the annexation of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. The most famous victims of the Freikorps were the Communist leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who were captured after the suppression of the Spartacist Uprising and shot without trial. After the Freikorps units turned against the Republic in the monarchist Kapp Putsch, many of the leaders were forced to flee abroad and the units were largely disbanded.
Some Freikorps veterans drifted into the ultra-nationalist Organisation Consul, which regarded the 1918 Armistice and the Versailles Treaty as treasonous and assassinated politicians who were associated with them. Among their victims were Matthias Erzberger and Walter Rathenau, both of whom were cabinet ministers in the Weimar regime.
In addition, the city of Munich remained a headquarters of Russian White émigré hit teams, which targeted those who were believed to have betrayed the Tsar. Their most infamous operation remains the 1922 attempt on the life of Russian Provisional Government statesman Pavel Miliukov in Berlin. When newspaper publisher Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov attempted to shield the intended victim, he was fatally shot by assassin Piotr Shabelsky-Bork.
During the same era, the Communist Party of Germany also operated its own assassination squads. Titled, the Rotfrontkämpferbund they carried out assassinations of carefully selected individuals from the Weimar regime as well as assassinations of members of rival political parties. The most infamous operations of Weimar-era Communist death squads remain the 1931 slayings of Berlin police Captains Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck. Those involved in the ambush either fled to the Soviet Union or were arrested and prosecuted. Among those to receive the death penalty was Max Matern, who was later glorified as a martyr by the East German State. The last surviving conspirator, former East German secret police head Erich Mielke, was belatedly tried and convicted for the murders in 1993. The evidence needed to successfully prosecute him had been found in his personal safe after German reunification.
Between 1933 and 1945, Germany was a one-party state ruled by the fascist Nazi Party and its leader, Adolf Hitler. During this period, the Nazis made extensive use of death squads and targeted killings.
In 1934, Hitler ordered the extrajudicial killings of Ernst Röhm and all members of the Sturmabteilung who remained loyal to him. Simultaneously, Hitler also ordered a mass purge of the German armed forces, targeting officers who, like General Kurt von Schleicher, had opposed his drive for absolute power. These massacres have gone down in history as, "The Night of the Long Knives."
Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the German military was followed by four travelling death squads called Einsatzgruppen to hunt down and kill Jews, Communists and other so-called undesirables in the occupied areas. This was the first of the massacres which comprised the Holocaust. Typically, the victims, who included women and children, were forcibly marched from their homes to open graves or ravines before being shot. Many others suffocated in specially designed poison trucks called gas vans. Between 1941 and 1944, the Einsatzgruppen killed some two million people, including about 1.3 million Jews, as well as tens of thousands of suspected political dissidents, most of the Polish upper class and intelligentsia, POWs, and uncounted numbers of Romany.
Another use of death squad tactics in Nazi Germany took place after the failure of the July 20th Plot, which had aimed to assassinate Hitler and dismantle the Nazi Party. More than 4,000 members and sympathizers of the German Resistance and their families were either killed out right or subjected to judicial murder by Judge Roland Freisler of the People's Court. Those whom Freisler sentenced to death were routinely hanged from piano wire nooses within hours of their trials.
These tactics ended only with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
Between the end of World War II and 1989, Germany was divided into the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany and the Communist German Democratic Republic, a one-party state under the Socialist Unity Party and its secret police, the Stasi. During these years, kangaroo courts and cavalier use of the death penalty were routinely used against suspected enemies of the State. In order to prevent East German citizens from defecting to the West, orders were issued to border guards to shoot suspected defectors on sight. During the 1980s, the Stasi carried out a mission to hunt down and assassinate West Germans who were suspected of smuggling East Germans.
On the orders of the Party leadership and Stasi chief Erich Mielke, the East German Government financed, armed, and trained, "urban guerrillas," from numerous countries. According to ex-Stasi Colonel Rainer Wiegand, ties to terrorist organizations were overseen by Markus Wolf and Department Three of the Stasi's foreign intelligence wing. Members of the West German Rote Armee Fraktion, the Chilean Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, and the South African Umkhonto we Sizwe were brought to East Germany for training in the use of military hardware and, "the leadership role of the Party." Similar treatment was meted out to Palestinian terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Nidal, and Black September.
Other Stasi agents worked as military advisers to African Marxist guerrillas and the governments they later formed. They included the Namibian SWAPO and the Angolan MPLA during the South African Border War, the FRELIMO during the Mozambican War of Independence and civil war, and Robert Mugabe's ZANLA during the Rhodesian Bush War.
Colonel Wiegand revealed that Mielke and Wolf provided bodyguards from the Stasi's counter-terrorism division for Senior PLO terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Black September leader Abu Daoud during their visits to the GDR. Col. Wiegand had been sickened by the 1972 Munich massacre and was horrified that the GDR would treat the man who ordered it as an honored guest. When he protested, Wiegand was told that Abu Daoud was, "a friend of our country, a high-ranking political functionary," and that there was no proof that he was a terrorist.
During the 1980s, Wiegand secretly recruited a Libyan diplomat into spying on his colleagues. Wiegand's informant told him that the La Belle bombing and other terrorist attacks against western citizens were being planned at the Libyan Embassy in East Berlin. When Wiegand showed him a detailed report, Mielke informed the SED's Politburo, which ordered the Colonel to continue surveillance but not interfere with the plans of the Libyans.
Shortly before German Reunification, West Germany's Federal Constitutional Court indicted former Stasi chief Erich Mielke for collusion with two Red Army Faction terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel. The first was the car bomb attack at Ramstein Air Base on 31 August 1981. The second was the attempted murder of United States Army General Frederick Kroesen at Heidelberg on 15 September 1981. The latter attack, which was carried out by RAF members Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar, involved firing an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket into the General's armored Mercedes. Due to reasons of senile dementia, Mielke was never placed on trial for either attack.
Following German reunification, death squads linked to foreign intelligence services have continued to operate in Germany. The most infamous example of this remains the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations, in which a group of anti-Islamist Iranians were fatally machine-gunned in a Greek restaurant in Berlin. A German court ultimately convicted the assassins and exposed the involvement of intelligence services of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The murder and subsequent trial has been publicized in the nonfiction bestseller The Assassins of the Turquois Palace by Roya Hakakian.
Then, in October 1944, Horthy announced a cease-fire with the Allies and ordered the Hungarian Army to lay down their arms. In response, Nazi Germany launched Operation Panzerfaust, a covert operation which forced Horthy to abdicate in favour of the Fascist and militantly racist Arrow Cross Party, which was led by Ferenc Szálasi. This was followed by an Arrow Cross coup in Budapest on the same day. Szálasi was declared "Leader of the Nation" and prime minister of a "Government of National Unity".
Arrow Cross rule, despite lasting only three months, was brutal. Death squads killed as many as 38,000 Hungarians. Arrow Cross officers helped Adolf Eichmann re-activate the deportation proceedings from which the Jews of Budapest had previously been spared, sending some 80,000 Jews out of the city on slave labor details and many more straight to death camps. Many Jewish males of conscription age were already serving as slave labor for the Hungarian Army's Forced Labor Battalions. Most of them died, including many who were murdered outright after the end of the fighting as they were returning home. Quickly formed battalions raided the Yellow Star Houses and combed the streets, hunting down Jews claimed to be partisans and saboteurs since Jews attacked Arrow Cross squads at least six to eight times with gunfire. These approximately 200 Jews were taken to the bridges crossing the Danube, where they were shot and their bodies borne away by the waters of the river because many were attached to weights while they were handcuffed to each other in pairs.
Red Army troops reached the outskirts of the city in December 1944, and the Battle of Budapest began, although it has often been claimed that there is no proof that the Arrow Cross members and the Germans conspired to destroy the Budapest ghetto. Days before he fled the city, Arrow Cross Interior Minister Gabor Vájna commanded that streets and squares named after Jews be renamed.
As control of the city's institutions began to decay, the Arrow Cross trained their guns on the most helpless possible targets: patients in the beds of the city's two Jewish hospitals on Maros Street and Bethlen Square, and residents in the Jewish poorhouse on Alma Road. Arrow Cross members continually sought to raid the ghettos and Jewish concentration buildings; the majority of Budapest's Jews were saved only by a handful of Jewish leaders and foreign diplomats, most famously the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg, the Papal Nuncio Monsignor Angelo Rotta, Swiss Consul Carl Lutz and Francoist Spain's consul general, Giorgio Perlasca. Szálasi knew that the documents used by these diplomats to save Jews were invalid according to international law, but ordered that they be respected.
The Arrow Cross government effectively fell at the end of January 1945, when the Soviet Army took Pest and their enemies forces retreated across the Danube to Buda. Szálasi had escaped from Budapest on December 11, 1944, taking with him the Hungarian royal crown, while Arrow Cross members and German forces continued to fight a rear-guard action in the far west of Hungary until the end of the war in April 1945.
After the war, many of the Arrow Cross leaders were captured and tried for war crimes. Many were executed, including Ferenc Szálasi. Fr. András Kun, a Roman Catholic priest who commanded an Arrow Cross death squad while dressed in his cassock, was also convicted and hanged after the war. Fr. Kun's cassock remains on permanent display at the House of Terror in Budapest.
During the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Republican Army under Michael Collins made use of death squads and targeted killings. At the beginning of the conflict, Collins recruited a group of men from the IRA's Dublin Brigade, who were dubbed "The Twelve Apostles". At Collins' orders, the Twelve Apostles strategically assassinated members of Crown security forces, British Intelligence spymasters, and moles within IRA ranks. Collins was assisted in this by IRA moles within Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Furthermore, several secretaries working for the British Army High Command in Dublin were also working as spies for Collins.
As British authority in Ireland began to disintegrate, Prime Minister David Lloyd George declared a state of emergency. In order to break the IRA, Winston Churchill, the Secretary of State for War, suggested the recruitment of World War I veterans into paramilitary death squads. Lloyd George agreed to the proposal, and advertisements were filed in British newspapers. Former enlisted men were formed into the Black and Tans, so called because of their mixture of British Army and police uniforms. Veterans who had held officers rank were formed into the Auxiliary Division, the members of which were higher paid and received better supplies. Members of both units, however, were despised by Irish civilians, against whom the "Tans" and "Auxies" routinely retaliated for IRA raids and assassinations.
To make matters worse, it was also far from unheard of for the regular British Army, the Royal Irish Constabulary, or the Dublin Metropolitan Police to use the same tactics. In many cases, mixed forces of Army, policemen, and paramilitaries would abduct, torture, and summarily execute Irish civilians who were unconnected with the IRA. This further eroded support for the British rule among the Irish people.
Enraged, Collins ordered the Twelve Apostles to hunt down and assassinate every one of the RIC officers involved in Mac Curtain's murder. On 22 August 1920, RIC District Inspector Oswald Swanzy, who had ordered the assassination, was shot dead with Mac Curtain's revolver while leaving a Protestant church service in Lisburn, County Antrim. This sparked a "pogrom" against the Catholic residents of the town.
On Bloody Sunday, Collins' men set out to assassinate members of a British army intelligence known as the Cairo Gang, killing or fatally wounding fifteen men, some of whom were unconnected to the Gang. In one incident, the IRA group was heard to scream, "May the Lord have mercy on your souls", before opening fire.
Collins later said of the incident,
My one intention was the destruction of the undesirables who continued to make miserable the lives of ordinary decent citizens. I have proof enough to assure myself of the atrocities which this gang of spies and informers have committed. If I had a second motive it was no more than a feeling such as I would have for a dangerous reptile. By their destruction the very air is made sweeter. For myself, my conscience is clear. There is no crime in detecting in wartime the spy and the informer. They have destroyed without trial. I have paid them back in their own coin.
After independence, Irish nationalist movement divided over the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which granted a partitioned Ireland Dominion status within the British Empire. Furthermore, all officials of the new Irish State were required to take an oath of allegiance to King George V of the United Kingdom.
As a result, the Irish Civil War was fought between those Irish nationalists who accepted the Treaty and those who considered it treasonous. Although fought between men who had recently served together against the British, the fighting was often without quarter and brutal atrocities were committed by both sides.
In IRA communications, the Irish State was referred to as, "The Imperial Gang," the "Murder Government," and as, "a British-imposed Dáil." Therefore, Irish men and women who supported the Free State were regarded as traitors. At the orders of IRA Chief of Staff Liam Lynch, Anti-Treaty IRA began raising money for their cause via armed robbery of banks and post offices. On 30 November 1922, Liam Lynch issues what were dubbed the "orders of frightfulness", in which he ordered IRA members to assassinate members of the Irish Parliament, or Dáil Éireann, and Senators whenever possible. This General Order sanctioned the assassination of certain judges and newspaper editors. The IRA also launched a concerted arson campaign against the homes of members of the Dáil, or TDs. Among these attacks were the burning of the house of TD James McGarry, resulting in the death of his seven-year-old son and the murder of Free state minister Kevin O'Higgins elderly father and burning of his family home at Stradbally in early 1923.
After TD Sean Hales was assassinated, the Dáil began to treat the civil war as a state of emergency. They voted to retaliate by summarily executing four captured members of IRA Executive -- Rory O'Connor, Liam Mellows, Richard Barrett and Joe McKelvey. After the motion passed, all four men were executed by firing squad on December 8, 1922. During the conflict, at least 73 other captured IRA men were treated in the same fashion—some following court martial, others without trial. There are no conclusive figures for the number of unofficial executions of captured IRA insurgents, but Republican officer Todd Andrews estimated 153. (see Executions during the Irish Civil War).
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Irish State formed a special counter-terrorism police, which was called the Criminal Investigation Department. Based in Dublin's Oriel House, the CID were despised by the Anti-Treaty IRA, which referred to them as, "The Murder Gang." During the Battle of Dublin, the CID is known to have shot 25 Anti-Treaty militants, officially while, "resisting arrest." Ultimately, the Irish State disbanded CID upon the cessation of hostilities in 1923.
Despite the best efforts of the Anti-Treaty forces, both the Irish Army and the CID proved highly effective in both combat and intelligence work. One tactic involved placing IRA message couriers under surveillance, which routinely led the Irish security forces to senior members of the insurgency.
According to historian Tom Mahon, the Irish Civil War, "effectively ended," on 10 April 1923, when the Irish Army tracked down and mortally wounded Liam Lynch during a skirmish in the Knockmealdown Mountains of County Tipperary. Twenty days later, Lynch's successor, Frank Aiken, gave the order to, "Surrender and dump arms."
During the Estado Novo regime, the Portuguese political police PIDE used death squads, especially during the Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974). They were responsible for the deaths of Humberto Delgado, Amílcar Cabral and Eduardo Mondlane, among others.
Prior to World War II, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union fought a war by proxy during the Spanish Civil War. There were death squads used by both the Falangists and Republicans during this conflict. Prominent victims of the era's death squad violence include the poet Federico García Lorca, José Robles, and journalist Ramiro Ledesma Ramos. (see also Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War).
According to author Donald Rayfield,
Stalin, Yezhov, and Beria distrusted Soviet participants in the Spanish war. Military advisors like Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, journalists like Koltsov were open to infection by the heresies, especially Trotsky's, prevalent among the Republic's supporters. NKVD agents sent to Spain were therefore keener on abducting and murdering anti-Stalinists among Republican leaders and International Brigade commanders than on fighting Franco. The defeat of the Republic, in Stalin's eyes, was caused not by the NKVD's diversionary efforts, but by the treachery of the heretics.
John Dos Passos later wrote,
I have come to think, especially since my trip to Spain, that civil liberties must be protected at every stage. In Spain I am sure that the introduction of GPU methods by the Communists did as much harm as their tank men, pilots and experienced military men did good. The trouble with an all powerful secret police in the hands of fanatics, or of anybody, is that once it gets started there's no stopping it until it has corrupted the whole body politic.
The ranks of the Republican assassination squads included Erich Mielke, the future head of the East German Ministry of State Security. Walter Janka, a veteran of the Republican forces who remembers him described Mielke's career as follows,
In the modern era, death squads, including the Batallón Vasco Español, Triple A, Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación (GAL) were illegally set up by officials within the Spanish government to fight ETA. They were active from 1975 until 1987, operating under Spanish Socialist Workers' Party cabinets from 1982.
Grey Wolves (organization) was established by Colonel Alparslan Türkeş in the 1960s, it was the main nationalist force during the political violence in 1976–80 in Turkey. During this period, the organization became a "death squad" engaged in "street killings and gunbattles". According to authorities, 220 of its members carried out 694 murders of left-wing and liberal activists and intellectuals. Attacks on university students were commonplace. They killed hundreds of Alevis in the Maraş massacre of 1978 and are alleged to have been behind the Taksim Square massacre of 1977. The masterminds behind the attempt on Pope John Paul II's life in 1981 by Grey Wolves member Mehmet Ali Ağca were not identified and the organization's role remains unclear.[A]
During the troubles in Northern Ireland accusations of collusion between the British state and Loyalist terror groups have been longstanding, with several army units implicated in accusations of collusion. The Military Reaction Force (MRF) was a covert intelligence-gathering unit of the British Army active in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, a former member described it as a "legalised death squad". In 1972, MRF teams carried out a number of drive-by shootings in Catholic and Irish nationalist areas of Belfast and have been linked with providing information to help loyalist paramilitaries to carry out attacks. Attacks on Catholic civilians attributed to the unit include the McGurk's Bar bombing, the Whiterock Road shooting, the Andersonstown shootings, the killing of Jean Smith, the Glen Road shooting, the St. James's Crescent shooting and the drive-by shooting of the New Lodge Six.
The Special Reconnaissance Unit, also known 14 Intelligence Company, was a part of the British Army Intelligence Corps. The unit was accused of acting in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries by former intelligence personnel Fred Holroyd and Colin Wallace in regards to the death of senior Provisional Irish Republican Army member John Francis Green, the Miami Showband killings and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
The Force Research Unit (FRU) is a covert military intelligence unit of the British Army part of the Intelligence Corps. The unit was found to have colluded with loyalist terror groups in the murder of civilians. This has been confirmed by some former members of the unit. From 1987 to 1991, it was commanded by Gordon Kerr. Another example is the loyalist Glenanne gang.
During the 30 years of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Provisional IRA have also been accused of operating such squads. Their Internal Security Unit, commonly known as "the nutting squad", which carried out the killing of suspected informers and "collaborators" with the British security forces.
The Srebrenica Massacre, also known as the Srebrenica Genocide, was the July 1995 killing of an estimated 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, as well as the ethnic cleansing of 1,000–2,000 refugees in the area of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić during the Bosnian War. In addition to the VRS, a paramilitary unit from Serbia known as the Scorpions participated in the massacre.
In Potočari, some of the executions were carried out at night under arc lights, and industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves. According to evidence collected from Bosniaks by French policeman Jean-René Ruez, some were buried alive; he also heard testimony describing Serb forces killing and torturing refugees at will, streets littered with corpses, people committing suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, and adults being forced to watch the soldiers kill their children.
In 2004, in a unanimous ruling on the "Prosecutor v. Krstić" case, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) located in The Hague ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide.
The first organized use of death squad violence in Russia dates from the 16th century reign of Ivan the Terrible, the first Russian monarch to claim the title of Tsar. Named the Oprichniki, they wore quivers which contained brooms, symbolizing their mission to ferret the enemies of the Tsar. They dressed in black garb, which was similar to a Russian Orthodox monastic habit, and bore the insignia of a severed dog's head (to sniff out treason and the enemies of the Tsar) and a broom (to sweep them away). The dog's head was also symbolic of their "nipping at the heels of the Tsar's enemies." They were sometimes called the "Tsar's Dogs" on account of their loyalty to him. They also rode black horses in order to inspire a greater level of terror.
Their oath of allegiance was: I swear to be true to the Lord, Grand Prince, and his realm, to the young Grand Princes, and to the Grand Princess, and not to maintain silence about any evil that I may know or have heard or may hear which is being contemplated against the Tsar, his realms, the young princes or the Tsaritsa. I swear also not to eat or drink with the zemshchina, and not to have anything in common with them. On this I kiss the cross.
Led by Malyuta Skuratov, the Oprichniki routinely tortured and executed whomever the Tsar suspected of treason, including boyars, merchants, clergymen, commoners, and even entire cities. The memoirs of Heinrich von Staden, provide a detailed description of both the Tsar's motivations and the inner workings of the Oprichniki.
The most famous victims of the Oprichniki remains Kyr Philip Kolychev, the Metropolitan bishop of Moscow. The Metropolitan gave a sermon in the Tsar's presence in which he rebuked Ivan for terrorizing and murdering large numbers of innocent people and their families. Enraged, Tsar Ivan convened a Church council which declared Metropolitan Philip defrocked and imprisoned in a monastery for delinquent clergy. Years later, Tsar Ivan sent an emissary demanding Metropolitan Philip's blessing on his plans for the Novgorod massacre. Metropolitan Philip said, "Only the good are blessed."
Enraged, Tsar Ivan sent Skuratov to personally strangle the Metropolitan in his monastic cell. Metropolitan Philip was subsequently glorified as a Saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.
In later centuries, Russian Tsars would declare a state of emergency and use death squad tactics in order to suppress domestic uprisings like Pugachev's Rebellion and the Russian Revolution of 1905. During the latter, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ordered the Imperial Russian Army to ally itself with the Black Hundreds, an ultra-nationalist paramilitary group. Those captured in arms against the Tsar's forces were tried by military tribunals before being hanged or shot. According to Simon Sebag Montefiore, being caught wearing similar clothing to Anti-Tsarist militias was often enough for court martial followed by execution. These tactics were continued by the anti-communist White Movement during the Russian Civil War (1917-1920).
Opponents of the House of Romanov also carried out targeted killings of those deemed as enemies of Socialism, which was referred to as individual terror. Among them were the People's Will, the Bolshevik Battle Squad, and the Combat Brigade of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Among the victims of Marxist death squads were Tsar Alexander II of Russia, the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, and the Georgian language poet and publisher Ilia Chavchavadze. These tactics were drastically accelerated following the October Revolution.
Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the former Russian Empire spent 73 years as a one party state ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Especially between 1917 and 1953, the CPSU routinely ordered the abduction, torture, and execution of massive numbers of real and suspected anti-communists. Those with upper class origins were routinely targeted in this way during the early years of the Soviet Union.
Most of the repression was committed by the regular forces of the state, like the army and the police, but there were also many cases of clandestine and covert operations.
During the interwar period, the NKVD routinely targeted anti-Stalinists in the West for abduction or murder. Among them were the CPSU's former Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, who was assassinated in Mexico City on 21 August 1940 by NKVD officer Ramon Mercador. Furthermore, former White Army Generals Alexander Kutepov and Evgeny Miller were abducted in Paris by the NKVD. Kutepov is alleged to have had a heart attack before he could be smuggled back to Moscow, and shot. General Miller was not so fortunate and died in Moscow's Lubianka Prison. Yevhen Konovalets, the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was blown to bits by NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov in Rotterdam on 23 May 1938.
In the post-war period, the Russian Orthodox Church collaborated with the Soviet State in a campaign to eliminate Eastern Rite Catholicism in the newly annexed regions of Soviet-ruled Ukraine. Priests and laity who refused to convert to Orthodoxy were either assassinated or deported to the GULAGs in Karaganda. On 27 October 1947, the NKVD staged a car accident in order to assassinate the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishop Theodore Romzha of Mukachevo. When the "accident" failed to kill the Bishop, the NKVD poisoned him in his hospital bed on 1 November 1947.
Even in the post-Stalin era, the Soviet secret police continued to assassinate anti-communists in the West. Two of the most notable victims were Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera, Ukrainian nationalists who were assassinated by the KGB in Munich, West Germany. Both deaths were believed to be accidental until 1961, when their murderer, Bohdan Stashynsky, defected to the West with his wife and voluntarily surrendered to West German authorities.
The Russian military has been accused of using death squads against Chechen insurgents. After defecting to the United States in October, 2000, Sergei Tretyakov, an SVR agent, accused the Government of the Russian Federation of following Soviet-era practices by routinely assassinating its critics abroad.
The Iron Guard of Egypt was a pro-palace political movement or a secret palace organization which assassinated Farouk of Egypt's enemies or a secret unit with a licence to kill, which was believed to personally take orders from Farouk. It was involved in several deadly incidents.
Under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1941–1979) the SAVAK (Security and Intelligence Service) was founded. During the 1960s and 70s, it was accused of using death squads. After the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah, Amnesty International continued to complain of human rights abuses in Iran. Suspected foes of the Ayatollah Khomeini, were imprisoned, tortured, tried by kangaroo courts, and executed. The most famous victim of the era's death squad violence remains Amir-Abbas Hoveida, a Prime Minister of Iran under the Shah. However, the same treatment was also meted out to senior officers in the Iranian military. Other cases exist of Iranians opposed to the Islamic Republic who have been tracked down and murdered abroad. One of the most notorious examples of this remains the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations in Berlin, Germany.
The Iranian government's victims include civilians who have been killed by "death squads" that operate under the control of government agents but these killing operations have been denied by the Iranian government. This was particularly the case during the 1990s when more than 80 writers, translators, poets, political activists, and ordinary citizens who had been critical of the government in some way, disappeared or were found murdered. In 1983 the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gave one of the leaders of Iran Khomeini information on Communist KGB agents in Iran. This information was almost certainly used. Later, The Iranian regime occasionally used death squads throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. However, by the 2000s, it seems to have almost if not entirely ceased its operations. This partial Westernization of the country can be seen as paralleling similar events in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and Northern Iraq beginning in the late 1990s.
Iraq was formed by the British from three provinces of the Ottoman Empire following the empire's breakup after World War I. Its population is overwhelmingly Muslim but is divided into Shiites and Sunnis, with a Kurdish minority in the north. The new state leadership in the capital of Baghdad was formerly composed of, for the most part, the old Sunni Arab elite.
After Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the UK–US invasion in 2003 the secular socialist Baathist leadership were replaced with a provisional and later constitutional government that included leadership roles for the Shia and Kurds. This paralleled the development of ethnic militias by the Shia, Sunni, and the Kurdish Peshmerga.
While all three groups have operated death squads, in the national capital of Baghdad some members of the now Shia police department and army formed unofficial, unsanctioned, but long tolerated death squads. They possibly have links to the Interior Ministry and are popularly known as the 'black crows'. These groups operated either by night or by day. They usually arrested people, then either tortured or killed them.
The victims of these attacks were predominantly young males who had probably been suspected of being members of the Sunni insurgency. Agitators such as Abdul Razaq al-Na'as, Dr. Abdullateef al-Mayah, and Dr. Wissam Al-Hashimi have also been killed. Women and children have also been arrested or killed. Some of these killings have also been simple robberies or other criminal activities.
A feature in a May 2005 issue of the magazine of The New York Times accused the U.S. military of modelling the "Wolf Brigade", the Iraqi interior ministry police commandos, on the death squads that were used in the 1980s to crush the Marxist insurgency in El Salvador.
In 2004, the US dispatched James Steele as an envoy and special training adviser to the Iraqi Special Police Commandos who were later accused of torture and death squad activities. Steele had served in El Salvador in the 1980s, where he helped train government units involved in human rights violations death squads in their war against the FMLNF.
The Grey Wolves, the unofficial militant arm of the MHP, has been involved in street killings and gunbattles.
...attacks on minority Alawite communities by the Grey Wolves, including the Kahramanmaras massacre in 1978...
This was the beginning of the massacre; later on, angry mobs led by grey wolves scattered into the city, killing and raping hundreds of Alevis.
Mohamed Ali Agca of Turkey, the man who shot at Pope John Paul II in Rome had no political motive. The investigating agency in Italy tried to establish his link with the Turkey based terrorist group, 'Grey Wolf,' however, could not get any evidence of his political connection.
Budy Ossowskie massacre was a mass murder of ethnic Poles carried out on 29–30 August 1943 by a death squad of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army aided by the Ukrainian peasants during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. About 290 people were killed, including women and children, all of them, Polish inhabitants of the Budy Ossowskie village, located in the Kowel County (powiat kowelski) of the Wołyń Voivodeship in the Second Polish Republic (now, part of the Kovel Raion, south-west of Kovel, Ukraine). Budy Ossowskie village does not exist anymore. It was burned to the ground by the OUN-UPA. The charred remnants of the village were cleared in Soviet Ukraine for grazing cattle. Overall, in the Kowel County some 7,300 ethnic Poles were murdered.Caravan of Death
The Caravan of Death (Spanish: Caravana de la Muerte) was a Chilean Army death squad that, following the Chilean coup of 1973, flew by helicopters from south to north of Chile between September 30 and October 22, 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75 individuals held in Army custody in certain garrisons. According to the NGO Memoria y Justicia, the squad killed 97 people: 26 in the South and 71 in the North. Augusto Pinochet was indicted in December 2002 in this case, but he died four years later without having been judged. His trial, however, is ongoing since his and other military personnel and a former military chaplain have also been indicted in this case.Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts (a source of caffeine). The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret, although a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.
The Coca-Cola Company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold exclusive territory contracts with the company, produce the finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate, in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. A typical 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) can contains 38 grams (1.3 oz) of sugar (usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup). The bottlers then sell, distribute, and merchandise Coca-Cola to retail stores, restaurants, and vending machines throughout the world. The Coca-Cola Company also sells concentrate for soda fountains of major restaurants and foodservice distributors.
The Coca-Cola Company has on occasion introduced other cola drinks under the Coke name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, along with others including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime, and coffee. Based on Interbrand's "best global brand" study of 2015, Coca-Cola was the world's third most valuable brand, after Apple and Google. In 2013, Coke products were sold in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers drinking more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day. Coca-Cola ranked No. 87 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.Davao City
Davao City, officially the City of Davao (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dabaw), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the island of Mindanao, Philippines. The city has a total land area of 2,443.61 km2 (943.48 sq mi), making it the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is the third-most populous city in the Philippines after Quezon City and Manila, the most populous city in the country outside Metro Manila, and the most populous in Mindanao. As of the 2015 census, the city had a population of 1,632,991.
It is geographically situated in the province of Davao del Sur and grouped under the province by the Philippine Statistics Authority, but the city is governed and administered independently from it. The city is divided into three congressional districts, which are subdivided into 11 administrative districts with a total of 182 barangays.
Davao City is the center of Metro Davao, the third-most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines (as of the 2015 census it had a population of 2.5 million, compared with Metro Manila's 12.8 million and Metro Cebu's 2.8 million). The city serves as the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao, and the regional center of Davao Region. Davao is home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. The city is also nicknamed the "Durian Capital of the Philippines".
The city has the highest murder rate and the second-highest rape rate in the country according to national police raw data as of 2015. Rodrigo Duterte, mayor for 22 years, boasted that he killed criminals, and claimed he had made the city into one of the safest in the world. A vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad killed over 1,400 street children and alleged criminals while he was mayor, according to human rights groups.Davao Death Squad
The Davao Death Squad (DDS) is a vigilante group in Davao City, with reported connections to former Davao mayor, and current Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte. The group is alleged to have conducted summary executions of street children and individuals suspected of petty crimes and drug dealing. It has been estimated that the group is responsible for the killing or disappearance of between 1,020 and 1,040 people between 1998 and 2008. In as early as 2005, the US State Department has received reports of the Human Rights Commission's (HRC) investigation regarding the alleged connection of the Duterte political dynasty of Davao to the killings. This was followed by another investigation in 2009. The investigation was discontinued due to the stonewalling of the local government under Duterte and the lack of public outrage. The Office of the Ombudsman closed an investigation in January 2016 stating that they found no evidence that the Davao Death Squad exists, and no evidence to connect the police or Duterte with the killings. The case has since been reopened.Georgios Poulos
Colonel Georgios Poulos (Greek: Γεώργιος Πούλος; 1889, Platanos, Aetolia-Acarnania – 11 June 1949) was a Nazi collaborator during the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. A longtime ultra-nationalist, Colonel Poulos was fanatically anti-monarchist and anti-communist. In 1943, he organised and led the Poulos Verband, the most feared collaborationist death squad in occupied-Greece. During 1944, his forces were reinforced by the Jagdkommando Schubert, a paramilitary unit raised in Crete by the notorious Friedrich Schubert.
Poulos participated in Sonderkommando 2000, a German counter intelligence unit which aimed at infiltrating the Greek resistance movement. Poulos also worked for the National Union of Greece (EEE), an antisemitic party sponsored by the SS. He and his forces organised and committed many crimes in the rural areas of Greece; the most notorious was the attack on Giannitsa in September 1944, during which about a hundred peasants were executed. The aim of the executions was to instill terror into the supporters of the left-wing EAM/ELAS, as Giannitsa was considered an important resistance centre. However, Poulos and his men killed in an indiscriminate fashion and it is probable that most of the victims had little to do with the Resistance. In March 1945, Poulos and his unit were transferred to Kitzbühel, Austria. They remained there until the end of the war and were captured by the US 7th Army. Colonel Poulos was convicted of treason and executed in June 1949.Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph
The Ivanhorod Einsatzgruppen photograph is an image of the Holocaust, showing a soldier aiming a rifle at a woman who is trying to shield a child with her body. It depicts the murder of Jews by an Einsatzgruppen death squad near Ivanhorod, Ukraine in 1942. The photograph was mailed, intercepted by the Polish resistance in Warsaw, and kept by Jerzy Tomaszewski. In the 1960s, it was alleged that the image was a Communist forgery, but that claim was debunked. Since then, the photograph has been frequently used in books, museums, and exhibitions relating to the Holocaust. Photograph historian Janina Struk describes it as "a symbol of the barbarity of the Nazi regime and their industrial scale murder of 6 million European Jews."Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion
The Karl-Liebknecht-Stadion is a football stadium in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany. It is the home stadium of 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and SV Babelsberg 03. The stadium has a capacity of 10,787 for 8,784 standing and 2,003 seated guests. Named in honor of Karl Liebknecht, the KPD leader who was assassinated by a military death squad in January 1919.List of Kenner Star Wars action figures
Kenner released more than 100 action figures in their Star Wars range between 1977 and 1985. The table below takes information as given on the cards with which each action figure debuted. After the debut of an action figure, details in the packaging, in the shape of the action figure and the name of the action figure were subject to change. No one characteristic (name, shape or product number) completely defines the list, rather all the characteristics taken together form a clear list.
There are 96 action figures listed below, though the final card-back promoted a full line of 93 action figures. This is because when Kenner produced new versions (with new, unique product numbers) of R2-D2 and C-3PO action figures, they discontinued previous versions. Two versions of R2-D2 were discontinued. One version of C-3PO was discontinued.The identical name "Bespin Security Guard" is given to two action figures. The first figure (No. 39810) is white, the second figure (No. 69640) is black. On card-backs the two Bespin Security Guards are shown separately, but still labeled with the same name. C-3PO (Removable Limbs) – No. 69430 / No. 69600 – was finally confirmed to exist on a U.S. release 45-Back "The Empire Strikes Back" card in 2018.Additional action figures, consisting of a taller blue Snaggletooth, and the three members of the Rebo Band (Max Rebo, Sy Snootles and Droopy McCool), were produced for inclusion in Kenner Star Wars toy sets, but were never released on blister cards. Jabba the Hutt and several other Star Wars creatures were also produced for this line, but are not generally considered part of the action figure line-up.
The years listed in the table specify the year of production, not the year of release.List of Marvel Comics teams and organizations
The comic book stories published by Marvel Comics since the 1940s have featured several fictional teams and organizations and this page lists them.Malachy Carey
Malachy Carey was a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army and a Sinn Féin candidate in local government elections. He was born in Loughgiel, County Antrim in 1956 to an old County Antrim family. He was assassinated by a Loyalist death squad in Ballymoney, County Antrim. on 12 December 1992. His death was reported in Republican newspaper An Phoblacht. A Sinn Féin Cumann (local branch of Sinn Féin) has been named in his honour.He was imprisoned in Crumlin Road (HM Prison) in 1977 at the age of 21, and took an active part in the Blanket protest until it ended after the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike. He became part of Bobby Sands team in the prison during the period that spanned the two Hunger Strikes. During this period he was known as a 'courier', concealing information notes and other items, including a camera, within his body. His fellow prisoners nicknamed him 'The Suitcase'. He was described by leading member of Sinn Féin, Jim Gibney, as 'solid and dependable... and an important part of Bobby Sands' team'.Released from prison after 10 years in 1987, he stood in local elections in his native village of Loughgiel. Malachy Carey received many death threats during this period, and was finally assassinated by loyalists on 12 December 1992. Sinn Féin have claimed there was collusion in his murder by state agencies.See also List of members of the Irish Republican Army.
N.B. For some extraordinary reason Malachy Carey has been listed alphabetically under 'M' in the Categories 'Irish Republican Army members' and 'Provisional Irish Republican Army members' which are listed at the foot of this page. His surname is Carey, only his first name is Malachy, so this a careless faux pas.Operation Colombo
Operation Colombo was an operation undertaken by the DINA (the Chilean secret police) in 1975 to make political dissidents disappear. At least 119 people are alleged to have been abducted and later killed. The magazines published a list of 119 dead political opponents.One of these fake magazines, titled LEA, was published by Codex Editorial, a dependent of the Argentine Ministry of Welfare, directed by José López Rega, counselor of Isabel Perón and founder of the Triple A death squad.Philippine Drug War
The Philippine Drug War refers to the drug policy of the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte, who assumed office on June 30, 2016. According to former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, the policy is aimed at "the neutralization of illegal drug personalities nationwide." Duterte has urged members of the public to kill suspected criminals and drug addicts. Research by media organizations and human rights groups has shown that police routinely execute unarmed drug suspects and then plant guns and drugs as evidence. Philippine authorities have denied misconduct by police.The policy has been condemned by various domestic and international human rights organizations for the number of deaths resulting from police operations and allegations of systematic extrajudicial executions. The policy is supported by the majority of the local population, as well as by leaders or representatives of certain countries such as China, Japan and the United States.Estimates of the death toll vary. Officially, 5,104 "drug personalities" have been killed as of January 2019. News organizations and human rights groups claim the death toll is over 12,000. The victims included 54 children in the first year. Opposition senators claimed in 2018 that over 20,000 have been killed.According to the official update "Real Numbers" released by the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, from July 1, 2016 to January 31, 2019, there was a total of 5,176 drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations, as well as 170,689 arrests, which include 295 government employees, 263 elected officials, and 69 uniformed personnel. 301 drug dens and laboratories have also been reported to have been dismantled, and a total of 11,080 barangays have been declared "cleared" of illegal drugs. In the capital Manila, the street price of methamphetamine was reportedly lower in June 2017 than a year earlier, which has been interpreted as an indication of the policy's ineffectiveness.In February 2018, the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced a "preliminary examination" into killings linked to the Philippine Drug War since at least July 1, 2016.Public Enemy No. 1 (street gang)
Public Enemy No. 1 (abbreviated as PENI), also known as PENI Death Squad (or PDS), is a prison and street gang birthed in Long Beach, California, and now based in Southern California, United States. The California Department of Justice in 2004 described it as "one of the most powerful and fastest-growing gangs inside and outside prison" and said it had about 200 members statewide. Its main activities include identity theft, credit card fraud and methamphetamine sales.Rapid Action Battalion
Rapid Action Battalion or RAB, is an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police. It consists of members of the Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Ansar. It was formed on 26 March 2004 as RAT (Rapid Action Team), and commenced operations on 14 April 2004.The Rapid Action Battalion has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The force has also been involved in several high-profile crimes, including murder. Although rights group have described it as a "death squad," the US government officials in Bangladesh describe it as an "organization best positioned to one day become a Bangladeshi version of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation."Roberto D'Aubuisson
Roberto D'Aubuisson Arrieta (August 23, 1943 – February 20, 1992) was an extreme-right Salvadoran soldier, politician and death-squad leader. In 1981, he co-founded and became the first leader of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) and served as President of El Salvador's Constituent Assembly from 1982 to 1983. He was a candidate for President in 1984, losing in the second round to José Napoleón Duarte. After ARENA's loss in the 1985 legislative elections, he stepped down in favor of Alfredo Cristiani and was awarded the honorary post of party president for life. He was named by the UN-created Truth Commission for El Salvador as having ordered the assassination of then-Archbishop Saint Óscar Romero in 1980.Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Roa Duterte, (; Tagalog: [roˈdɾigo ɾowa dʊˈtɛɾtɛ] (listen); born March 28, 1945), also known as Digong and Rody, is a Filipino politician who is the 16th and current President of the Philippines, and the first from Mindanao to hold the office. He is the chair of the ruling PDP–Laban party. Taking office at 71 years old in June 2016, Duterte is the oldest person to assume the Philippine presidency; the record was previously held by Sergio Osmeña at the age of 65.Duterte studied political science at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, graduating in 1968, before obtaining a law degree from San Beda College of Law in 1972. He then worked as a lawyer and was a prosecutor for Davao City, before becoming vice mayor and, subsequently, mayor of the city in the wake of the Philippine Revolution of 1986. Duterte was among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines, serving seven terms and totaling more than 22 years in office.
Frequently described as a populist and a nationalist, Duterte's political success has been aided by his vocal support for the extrajudicial killing of drug users and other criminals. Human rights groups have documented over 1,400 killings allegedly by death squads operating in Davao between 1998 and May 2016; the victims were mainly drug users, petty criminals and street children. A 2009 report by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights confirmed the "systematic practice of extrajudicial killings" by the Davao Death Squad. Duterte has alternately confirmed and denied his involvement. The Office of the Ombudsman closed an investigation in January 2016 stating that they found no evidence that the Davao Death Squad exists, and no evidence to connect the police or Duterte with the killings. The case has since been reopened. Duterte has repeatedly confirmed that he personally killed criminal suspects as mayor of Davao.On May 9, 2016, Duterte won the Philippine presidential election with 39.01% of the votes, defeating four other candidates, namely Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party (23.4%), Senator Grace Poe (21.6%), former vice president Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (12.9%), and the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago of the People's Reform Party (3%). During his campaign, he promised to kill tens of thousands of criminals and end crime within six months. His domestic policy has focused on combating the illegal drug trade by initiating the Philippine Drug War. According to the Philippine National Police the death total passed 7,000 in January 2017, after which the police stopped publishing data. Following criticism from United Nations human rights experts that extrajudicial killings had increased since his election, Duterte threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the UN and form a new organization with China and African nations. He has declared his intention to pursue an "independent foreign policy", and sought to distance the Philippines from the United States and European nations and pursue closer ties with China and Russia.Salvadoran Civil War
The Salvadoran Civil War was a conflict between the military-led government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a coalition or "umbrella organization" of left-wing groups. A coup on October 15, 1979 was followed by killings of anti-coup protesters by the government and of anti-disorder protesters by the guerrillas, and is widely seen as the start of civil war.The fully-fledged civil war lasted for more than 12 years and included the deliberate terrorizing and targeting of civilians by death squads, the recruitment of child soldiers and other human rights violations, mostly by the military. An unknown number of people disappeared while the UN reports that the war killed more than 75,000 people between 1980 and 1992. In 2016, the El Salvador Supreme Court ruled that the 1993 amnesty law was unconstitutional and that the El Salvador government could prosecute war criminals.The United States contributed to the conflict by providing military aid of $1–2 million per day to the government of El Salvador during the Carter and Reagan administrations. The Salvadoran government was considered "friendly" and allies by the U.S. in the context of the Cold War. By May 1983, US officers took over positions in the top levels of the Salvadoran military, were making critical decisions and running the war.The United Nations has estimated that the FMLN guerrillas were responsible for 5% of the murders of civilians during the civil war, while 85% were committed by the Salvadoran armed forces and death squads.In 1990 the UN began peace negotiations and on January 16, 1992, a final agreement, The Chapultepec Peace Accords, was signed by the combatants in Mexico City, formally ending the conflict.The Death Squad (film)
The Death Squad is a 1974 American crime drama television film originally aired on ABC. The film starred Robert Forster, Melvyn Douglas, Michelle Phillips, Claude Akins, and George Murdock.
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